Victory for British and Australian Drivers in Gulf Radical Cup.
The D5 Racing pairing of Jeff Curtis and James Edmeades took victory in a spectacular race that saw Vice Champion Sergey Shalanov retire on lap 3 with a technical issue and pole sitter Ian Roberts lose the lead on the penultimate lap.
With the customary sportscar rolling start Roberts took full advantage of his P1 grid position to hold the lead into turn 1 from Hjerrpe and Shalanov, then maintained his advantage whilst watching his competitors jockeying for position in his mirrors. On lap 19 the drivers started to come into the pits for their mandatory pit stop, the result of which Roberts increased his lead. But in the second half of the race it was a now a newcomer to the series, the experienced Australian racer Yasser Shahin who started to get much larger in those small, vibrating mirrors!
Both cars arrived nose to tail into the last corner of the penultimate lap but it was Shahin came through first, albeit slowing with body damage after making contact with Roberts. But as both cars scrambled to recover they were caught by the number 17 car driven by Aalerud and the number 4 car now being driven by James Edmeades. As Shahin tried to drive his broken car he inadvertently blocked Robert’s path to Turn 1 and it was Edmeades at the back of the group that found the best line past the other three cars to take the lead which he held to the finish and victory!
The fastest lap of the race, 56.089 was set by South African driver Sean Simpson who shared with series returnee, Pakistan’s Usmaan Mughal to finish 4th. Trophies were presented by two-times 24Hours of Le Mans Winner, Tommy Erdos, who works with series organiser GulfSport Racing as their driver’s coach. After a stewards enquiry Shahin was handed a 3 place grid penalty for his contact with Roberts that ultimately lost Roberts his first win of the season.
Round 8 got off to an even more frenetic start with cars going 4 wide into turn 1 under the bright F1 lights. James Edmeades and Sergey Shalunov were on the front row and fought tooth and nail to command the race. But a mistake by Shalunov under braking meant that both car’s lost their advantage which allowed Yasser Shahin to take the lead which he held to the chequered flag. Ian Roberts was in second place followed by Jani Hjerppe, Hugh Smith, Shalunov, Feyzullin and Edmeades. This was one very fast train with the first 6 cars circulating on almost identical lap times separated by less than 4 seconds! The train shortened momentarily as Roberts spun across the damp grass at the last turn putting himself at the back of the train.
Yet again the mandatory pitstops changed things around with Shahin now closely followed by Shalunov and Aalerud. But Shalunov would lose his place due to a drive through penalty for the incident with Edmeades, and Mughal made his move up to 3rd place - an amazing performance from someone who last race a Radical some 8 years ago! So at the finish it was Shahin, Aalerud and Mughal on the podium with Shalunov in 4th setting the fastest lap in the process.